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promiseth. Thus saith Eliphas to Job, " Acquaint now thyself with him," (that is, with God,) and as one of the blessed fruits of familiarity, "thou shalt lift up thy face unto God," that is, thou shalt openly own him before others without sinful modesty or timidness, as a man dares boldly approach his intimate friend, whoever be present; he adds also, "thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee."*-O the blessed fruits of a soul's acquaintance with God in private! such will not be ashamed of him before others, such will resemble God;† this intimacy transforms men into his likeness, as long intimate acquaintance hath altered the habit of some men's bodies and dispositions of their minds into that of their friends; on Moses conversing with God in the mount his face shone, so that some rays of divine glory appeared to Aaron and the Israelites; the more you are with God, the more you have of God, and this of praying with boldness, confidence, and assurance is both a duty and privilege, obtained by frequent conversing with God as our friend: but the manner of the expression is worth notice, "thou shalt make thy prayer to him:"|| the words are emphatical, and signify a pouring out of prayer, with a multitude of words in prayer, strong words, clothed with power: you will never want matter, or words, or enlargedness, if you be thus acquainted with God your family will soon perceive that you have been with Jesus in secret, when they discern such freedom of speech and spirit; now, nobody can hinder you from praying with your family, one act of religion draws on another, private duties prepare for more public; and it is true, what Dr. Preston observes, that

+ 2 Cor. iii. 18.

* Matt. vi. 6. Job xxii. 21, 26, 27.

Exod. xxxiv. 30.

y Multiplicavit, proprie verba fortia fudit in oratione.
2 c


helps to religion are within the compass of religion itself, multiplied acts strengthen habits, by running men learn to run, by writing they learn to write: so by praying you will best learn to pray.

6. Study the nature of sin; see what a scriptural discovery you can make of the sin of nature and the nature of sin, the kinds, degrees, circumstances, and aggravations of sin, together with the doleful effects and consequences of it, in this and another world: this will help you in confession, self-accusation, and deep humiliation, which is a considerable part of prayer. This self-knowledge helps both in the matter and manner of praying. 2 Chron. vi. 29, "What prayer, or what supplication shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore, and his own grief." Sorrow makes eloquent, you need not prompt a necessitous beggar; he hath words at will, and shews his sores, which is powerful oratory. If sin were your burden, it would squeeze out sighs and groans, and a groan is a good prayer; "Lord, my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not hid from thee:" and if there be inward sighs, there will be outward speeches; if you be full of griefs, you will be full of complaints; if you be full of matter, you will speak that you may be refreshed. † Consult the book of conscience, and you will find it easy to draw up a large bill of indictment against your own souls.

7. Study your wants, need makes beggars, and adds earnestness to prayers: learn of poor beggars at the door, malefactors at the bar: consider your own indigency, the case of your families, congregations, and the nation. Is there no unconverted sinner in your family? is there no sin breaking out amongst you? is there no * Psalm xxxviii. 9. + Job xxxii. 18-20.

grace weak or wanting in yourself or yours? Is there no temptation assaulting any of you? or no affliction, or judgment passing on you, or impending over you? Look and look again, as you use to make an inspection into your stock, when you go to the market to make provision. Follow the Lord importunately for a crumb of mercy, as the poor woman in the gospel, or as the importunate widow, or if you can say no more, say as the publican," God be merciful to me a sinner,”* the Lord be merciful to my poor sinning family: who knows what prevalency may be in such a word, uttered from an humble sense of soul-wants? you know that man went to his house justified rather than the vaunting, vain-glorious Pharisee.

8. Make a catalogue of your mercies; recollect the kindness of God, personal and domestic, both in temporal and spiritual things. It is true, they are so many that they cannot be declared in order, "they are more than can be numbered;"† but let that not discourage you in your attempt, (any more than reckoning up your sins, which are also innumerable, ‡) but do what you can in both, if you cannot do what you would or ought, the more you endeavour the more will be suggested to your memory, and thus the more will be the matter of praise and thankfulness for renewed mercy every day, and when you experience any signal mercies, set up an Ebenezer, and say, "hitherto hath the Lord helped us," you will find multiplied occasions of such memorials, speak good of God in conference, and call in help of others, "to magnify the Lord with you,"§ and perhaps the members of your family will bring every one a stone to raise the pile of praise to a

* Matt. xv. 27. + Psal. xl. 12.

Luke xviii. 3, 13
|| 1 Sam. vii. 12.

+ Psal. xl. 5.
§ Psal. xxxiv. 3.

greater elevation, yea, and bring their coal to warm your hearts together, and kindle a greater flame of heavenly devotion; try this course, and you will see the blessed issue.

9. Consider what dangers daily threaten you, and see if that will not afford you matter of prayer; possibly some of your callings expose you to greater hazards than ordinary, some ride much abroad early and late to markets, and are subject to falls; some work under ground and may be crushed to death, others go to sea, and witness the wonders of the Lord in the deep, and it hath been said, "he that knows not how pray, let him go to sea."* There is no calling but it hath its snares and difficulties, to which it exposes persons; and wisdom is profitable to direct; foreseen dangers hurt least; for as persons are forewarned, it affords matter of deprecation. But there are thousands of accidents which the most sagacious eye cannot foresee, which you see others fall into and fall by, one falls into a pit and perisheth, with respect to another his horse falls, and he breaks an arm, or leg, or his neck, some are assaulted by robbers and slain, others are burnt by sudden fires in their houses; your own observation may afford you many sad instances, and what befalls others may befall you, and may not these afford you matter of prayer for their prevention, or your preparation for them, put yourselves into God's hands every morning and evening, for you are never safe but under his tuition, the omniscient, omnipotent God only can guard you and your family. "He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps;"† other means are ineffectual without him.

• Qui nescit orare, discat navigare.
+ Psal. cxxi. 4. cxxvii. 1, 2.


10. Beg God's Holy Spirit. It is a spirit of grace and supplication, go to God in the name of Christ, and if you can say nothing else, yet tell him you cannot pray, but withal say, "Lord, I hear others can pray, why not I?" No matter how dull the scholar is, so I have thee for my master, I hear others of humble gifts naturally, who are yet instructed spiritually, and have arrived at great proficiency in managing family worship, and may not I be endowed with the same spirit, first of sanctification, and then of supplication? come, Lord, and teach me to pray as John taught his disciples, or rather as Jesus teacheth his members, thou sayest, "If ye being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"† I know this is a hard text, but it must not be understood, as if God would give his sanctifying Spirit on a carnal man's prayer, by virtue of a promise, but either common gifts of the Spirit to such, or spiritual influences to those who ask with sincerity and earnestness, or further degrees of the Spirit to his own children, and so I think it is to be taken as the pledge and earnest of the Holy Spirit to believers, as Calvin takes it; as being one of the good things of the kingdom of heaven, which pious souls most importunately ask and beg; and you see here a free and faithful promise of Christ, that his and our Father will bestów his Holy Spirit on us, and the blessed apostle tells us the advantage of the Holy Spirit for our assistance in prayer; Rom. viii. 26, "Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought," &c. All acknowledge that the Spirit must help our infirmities in the manner of right praying, exciting graces + Luke xi. 1, 13.

• Zech. xii. 10.

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